Monday, November 30, 2009

Greetings from Nyköping!

I'm in Sweden and yesterday was our first day of training. Two practices. Today, we are running errands and getting ready for our first practice game against the local team, Onyx. Should be interesting.

My muscles are screaming and I'm covered in bruises, but I'm already having a great time. Pictures to follow once I get to Västerås, where I will have internet in my hotel room. :)

Go Team USA!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Life. Is. Good.

The last few days have been really, really fun. I have been playing hockey, meeting new people, spending time with great friends, and generally enjoying life. This is the perfect send-off.

I may not be playing Shpoople, but I am leaving in 3 days to go to Sweden. The only way life could get any better right now would be if I got my security clearance! Fingers crossed. :D

Thursday, November 19, 2009

True Callings

There are two things I've been passionate about for a very long time: ice hockey and travel. We obviously know where my love of travel has gotten me (and I am traveling for the FOURTH time this year; this time to Sweden), but where does my other passion fit in?

I started playing hockey when I was 8, and it was the one thing I never gave up on. In fact, the draw to play was so strong that even after my equipment was stolen five years ago, I went out and bought all brand new gear. I dropped $2,300 over the last few weeks buying new goalie stuff, and it made me feel so good to know that I get to play again. I'm not part of a league or anything (yet). But, still, when I put on that mask today, it was like I had been transported.

It sounds silly to say, but my heart feels so full right now! I have missed this sport so much. It's like regaining part of my identity.

This mask, while designed for ice hockey, will be coming with me to Sweden.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stockholm Syndrome

Okay, so not really. But I am flying to Stockholm in 11 days to play for the US national floorball team. It's a pretty cool thing to say you played on a national team--even if it's for a sport 99% of the population have no idea exists.

Be sure to check us out and root for us! It's the World Floorball Championship, after all. If any of you folks out there in cyberworld know anyone who works at the US Embassy in Stockholm, please extend an invitation to them from this future diplomat!

Where: Vasteras, Sweden
When: December 5 - 12

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Moving Forward

I've spent the last few days in Burlington, Vermont, visiting friends and keeping busy. It was a nice getaway that bordered on necessity in an attempt to keep my brain from dwelling on my (former) relationship. However, I've decided to let myself feel sad for a little while. It's a natural part of healing, but I've been trying my best to avoid it. I don't think anyone likes to feel sad. Anger is so much easier. Avoidance is easier--in the short term, at least. You can actually function when you don't feel as though getting through the night is an impossible task or waking up is a burden. Sadness saps your energy and drive. Who wants to willingly submit to that? I didn't, but it's necessary. I have to grieve the loss of a relationship that lasted three and a half years, my closest confidante, the future that had been talked about ad infinitum, and a very large part of the identity I had assumed as one half of our pairing.

There is nothing wrong with feeling sad. But that doesn't give me license to sulk for the foreseeable future, to give up on my diet, act financially irresponsibly, or unnecessarily burden my friends with my rantings. I must take steps to live my life normally, if not a little better than before. Getting stuck in a rut right now is not an option. My sadness is real, even palpable at times, and that's okay as long as I don't let it consume or define me.

For the first time I am willing to admit what I've known since our first long-distance trial: this was never going to work, but I allowed it to pathetically limp along for three years on false hope. I will get over it, of that I'm sure. Even if tears will sometimes bubble up over the next however many days, weeks, or months, I am a strong person and I will be fine without him. Better, even. My brain and the rest of my emotions simply need a little bit of time to sync up.

I can say that I am genuinely glad this split is happening now instead of when I am in A-100 or heading to post. My life is now my own, and I only need to focus on my needs and wants. If I want to go to Africa, I can. I don't have to worry about plane fare, organizing visits, the time difference and trying to make it work over Skype, all while balancing my new, busy life in a strange country. There is something very freeing about that.

I'm still young and I have so much more to experience. One bad relationship will certainly not prevent me from doing just that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

January A-100

I found out today that the invitations have started going out for the January A-100 class, and I'm still waiting on my security clearance. Rumor has it that offers for February will be going out as soon as January is filled. If that is the case, I will definitely be out for that class's consideration as well. I'll be lucky to get in for March or May at this point.

I'm a bit unsure of my next step if I either don't get my clearance or am not put on the register until December or later. I can't go back to waiting tables if I have to be there for 3 or more months if I plan on retaining my sanity.

Any suggestions?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just a Little Premature

I knew when I chose to go into the Foreign Service that my romantic relationship would be affected. I wondered if it would survive, if it stood a chance, if my experience with distance would be enough to carry me through at least the first tour. I knew going in that the time would come when I'd have to make a choice.

What I didn't realize, however, is how early on this decision would affect me. I am still in the purgatory that is adjudications and yet I am watching this connection dissolve before my very eyes. It's a painful process.

I know that life as a career diplomat is what I want, without hesitation, but is this much carnage necessary so early on?

At times like these, a quiet pause is the best answer I can muster.